Jan Hefler, Inquirer Staff Writer
Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 1:47 PM
During the past 32 years, stockbroker Irvin Rosenfeld said he has smoked 130,000 marijuana cigarettes – with the federal government’s blessing.
Rosenfeld, 61, continues to get a monthly supply of 300 pre-rolled joints in a silver canister from a government-authorized farm in Mississippi to help treat a rare bone-tumor disorder. This, despite the drug’s classification by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a top-tier hazardous substance with no medicinal value.
“I’m living proof of the hypocrisy of the federal government,” Rosenfeld said Tuesday at a hearing before the Pennsylvania Senate Law and Justice Committee, which is considering a bill to legalize medical marijuana. If the bill is fast-tracked – some senators said they want it released to the floor by the end of the month – Pennsylvania would vie with several other states to become the 23d to allow cannabis to be sold for medical purposes.
New Jersey has had a stumbling marijuana program since 2010 and Delaware is in the process of implementing one. Florida is among several states where voters will be asked to decide the issue in ballot initiatives this year.
Rosenfeld, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is one of two federal medical marijuana patients nationwide.
“All the bad things the federal government says about marijuana are lies,” said Rosenfeld, who was approved for the Compassionate Investigative New Drug program in 1982 and then was grandfathered into receiving a continuing supply when it was shut down a decade later during the government’s war on drugs.
He brought a canister filled with the joints to the hearing to illustrate his point.
Rosenfeld, said he has never gotten high from the marijuana and believes his body consumes it as a muscle relaxant, pain reliever and anti-inflammatory agent.
Diagnosed when he was 10 with a genetic condition in which painful bone tumors multiply throughout his body, Rosenfeld said his first doctors had warned he might not live past his teenage years. He underwent several surgeries to remove the tumors and was prescribed Dilaudid and various other narcotics that he worried could be addicting.
While experimenting with cannabis during his college years, he accidentally discovered he was able to sit for longer periods without pain and his tumors were decreasing in number.
“It’s amazing how well it works,” said Rosenfeld, in a phone interview. He said that he has undergone various tests and his lungs and brain have not shown any signs of being compromised by the drug.
Musikka Elvy, who lives in Oregon, is the other federal cannabis patient. She uses it to treat glaucoma.
Rosenfeld said that the marijuana he and Elvy receive is grown at a government farm at the University of Mississippi.
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